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Emma Thompson shines in this interesting tale about work, love, and beliefs.
This DVD didn't work well on my player and thus I saw about 1/2 of the film - the introduction and the ending. So difficult to rate my interest level in the story.
This movie can be seen in different light. When the judge visited the teen to determine if he understood that refusing treatment would lead to his slow death, she went beyond evidence gathering. She laughed at his quip and the ice broke. Then she chatted about his guitar, asked him to play the tune just learned, sang the words to it. She inspired a change in the precocious young man. She embodied legal authority as well as social approval, the whisper of something better.
By professional rules, exchanges outside that legal scope may suggest bias, self interest or other compromising motive. Did she want the process and her consideration to seem fairer ? Back in court, she confirmed precedents that the hospital can intervene with transfusions and medications to rescue the underage teen.
This script invested the judge with all the determinism and diminished other characters. It echoed elitist biases about other classes : he plays the guitar, she plays the piano ; she knew the ballad Down by Salley Gardens, he didn't know the poet Yeats ; he is imaginative, she has the power to solve his quandary. Yet responding to another person on an informal level opened fear of professional review. Outside of her role as judge, she felt obliged to do nothing to help him, or she might lose her job.
Was the writer pointing up inadequacy in the system, a mechanism to transfer him to some help ? The movie didn't even look for that remedy. The script stuck to the judge.
The young fellow visited her two more times. Although she listened, she didn't stray outside her profession and class role. When she said goodbye, he kissed her. Her clerk saw it. Professional Review would interpret that as unhealthy interest.
When the young man suffered another bout of leukemia, she visited him again in hospital. Now an adult over 18, he was free to refuse treatment.
Anguished by the “waste”, the judge read his personal letter from that previous year, that he had lost his religion, parents, hope and life. This movie made his death her tragedy.
By constricting the POV, the writer misread other obvious interpretations. Making the lad her walk-on dilemma turned her struggle into self interest and censorship. Events, characters and interpretations were manipulated to support this version.
Now think about other class exclusions in this story and wonder how awkwardly it's blocked.
Very good actors, but the storyline is very much a downer, chose not to watch it.
Beauty through moments of regrets. Living not fulfilled by choices or living with consequences of decisions perhaps left unmade.
Art is what makes you pause, ponder and absorb to reflect what beholds you. So is the mastery in this movie piece.
A warm, heartfelt story! Well-done and beautifully acted! I really enjoyed this intriguing story and movie!
(The volume was low for some reason, though!)
Make sure to watch the Commentary, well-worth it!
I definitely recommend this movie!
Another brilliant BBC production. A clever drama that demonstrates some of the life issues that professional women may deal with: marriage, workaholic habits, client/coworker interactions. Also a sneak peak at what a judge for children cases has to deal with. An opportunity to see EmmaT in a serious role (vs comedy) - great job. Always nice to watch STucci. FWhitehead effectively played a confused young adult. The director did a great job moving this drama along despite no battles or car chases. Spoilers ... thought provoking take aways: controversy over blood transfusions, needy spouses, side effects of being a workaholic, how to deal with clients/coworkers who mix professionalism with intimacy, line between professionalism, friendship and intimacy, the benefits of a long separation before getting a divorce, importance of open honest spousal dialog, emotional discussions without the yelling and insults, professionals making hard decisions by employing a human-touch - not blindly following rules in a book. So many layers to this story. Life is not always a bed of roses.
Laws to protect children from abusive parents were extended to require medical care for minors in these circumstances. Even though it was a life-or-death situation, regardless of how primitive the religious creed, should the government be seen as accepting a burden of emotional responsibility? You might say, “Obviously not,” but this intelligent, uncomfortable film poses the question nicely.
Emma Thompson was cast perfectly in the lead role. Stanley Tucci and Fionn Whitehead also great in their parts. Good drama, but had a weak ending in my opinion.
The phenomenal Emma Thompson is reason enough to watch this fine film. All the other main characters are well played, too.
Found it slow and boring....only watched to the end because I wanted to see what happened otherwise I would have turned it off after the first 15mins
Disappointing, would have rated it lower if it wasn’t for the high caliber acting especially from Emma Thompson. None of the characters I could warm to and the improbable and somewhat absurd storyline did not flow well, not to my taste at all.
I don't know.... The movie left me scratching my head quite as much as the novel did. I watched the movie in the hope it might illuminate the novel for me. It didn't. I found both had a flat affect that made it tough for me to engage with the story. The situations presented in the family court were interesting and compelling - but I couldn't connect with the characters. :o(
Good movie that explores ethical dilemma's most of us don't even think about.
What excites me most about this movie, is that it's for adults. It's about people dealing with issues in their lives, in an intelligent manner. The kind of movie, that I feel, does not get made these days.
See the comments below re: the genius of Emma Thompson; and Stanley Tucci; and the script by Ian McEwan, based on his novel.
A wonderful find. Very powerful and thought provoking. Emma Thompson at her best.